Svendsen Wins Sprint Battle
|09.02.2013, Nove Mesto na Morave / IBU Info JK|
|Outskis Fourcade to Take Gold|
|Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen won the Men’s Sprint World Championship today, prevailing in 23:25.1 over defending champion Martin Fourcade of France who was 8.1 seconds back. Both men had a single penalty in the standing stage. Third went to Slovenia’s Jakov Fak who shot clean but was 11.2 seconds back.
Norway’s veteran Ole Einar Bjørndalen finished fourth, with one penalty, 19.9 seconds back, while Dmitry Malyshko was fifth with clean shooting, but 23.2 seconds behind Svendsen. Sixth went to Fourcade’s teammate Alexis Boeuf who also shot clean while finishing 25 seconds back.
Svendsen versus Fourcade
Conditions were good for the men today. The tracks had frozen harder overnight than in previous days, and the wind remained light from the left for most of the competition.
This was a sprint similar to most this season, except that the field totaled 136 men as opposed to the usual number around 100. Most of the big names started in the top 60, with Fourcade taking the early lead after shooting clean in prone. Svendsen came to the range next and also cleaned, grabbing a four second lead. That set up the battle for the Gold medal. Svendsen was skiing a bit faster than Fourcade, so any advantage could possibly be made up by the Yellow Bib-wearing Fourcade in the standing stage. Fourcade shot confidently, but had a single penalty. still, he had the lead, until Svendsen shot. The focused Norwegian also had a penalty, but he was still skiing faster and left the shooting range with a ten-second advantage. He slipped back a bit but still crossed the finish line with an 8.1 second bulge on the defending champion.
After these two, there were basically three other challengers, Fak, Bjørndalen, and Malyshko. The Norwegian shot fast and clean in prone and took the lead. The other two shot clean, but were about 12 seconds back after prone. Fak and Malyshko shot clean in standing and moved into a tie for second, while Bjørndalen had a penalty and fell back a bit. In the final 3.3K loop, Fak pushed hard, while Malyshko faded a bit, which allowed Bjørndalen to pass him by the finish. However, Fak was the fastest of the three and ended up in third, with Bjørndalen 7.7 seconds behind him.
Svendsen was happy to win today, admitting that winning an individual Gold medal was his goal for the week. "I had a goal on the tracks and on the shooting range today and I did that. My goal was to be on the podium more during these championships and I have reached that. Now I am going to have fun for the rest of the week." still he admitted with a laugh, "I could imagine six Gold medals..."
Part of Biathlon
Fourcade was not surprised to be battling for the top spot with the Norwegian. "It was the battle I expected. I did everything I could do. I hope to beat him tomorrow in the pursuit." He knew that the missed shot in standing was the difference between Silver and Gold. "I think the missed shot was partly due to a loss of focus; I am a bit disappointed but it is a part of biathlon...I am a happy man today."
Fak who won the 20K individual World Championship last season was a bit surprised to be on the podium today. "Before the World Championships started, I wanted to be a medal but did not expect it in the sprint. But I felt good today and it worked out...Every athlete that wins a World Championships medal should be happy...It is a great achievement for me."